Iran Stoking Xenophobia, Targeting Azeris Continues

Azeri Protest (Photo Credit: RFERL)

New claims of racism are plaguing the Iranian regime; this time involving ethnic Azerbaijanis answering calls on social media to protest their treatment in Iran. This is the latest in a series of actions targeting the Azeri minority in the Islamic Republic.

Thousands have taken to the streets to condemn their racist treatment at the hands of the regime (see video here). State media revealed that yesterday the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) announced it has arrested Azeris in the Northern province of discussing protests via social media, claiming the arrests were a “timely… orderly, coordinated and powerful operation.”

Last week state TV broadcasts of Fitilehha (a show aimed at a juvenile demographic) caused an uproar when it depicted a man and his son “speaking Persian with Azeri accents, expressing their unhappiness with the hotel they were staying in, deeming it ‘smelly.’” The pair were shown using a toilet brush to clean their teeth.

Azeris have also been depicted as cockroaches in cartoons run in the children’s section of state newspapers, which led to protests in which 19 civilians were killed.